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Discussion Starter #1
In next edition of german 'auto motor & sport' New VW Phaeton W12 4WD is up against MB S600. <br> <br> From what I have read so far about the Phaeton, it has superior interior quality as well as incredible comfort when it comes to suspension, seats and (lack of) noise.<br> <br> What do you think will be the outcome of te test?
 

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VW beats MB!

VW came out as a winner!<br> <br> VW was found to have a much higher quality interior (and better looking as well, even if that is subjective), and to be even more comfortable with than the S600 due to a much more quite ride, superior ventilation, plus (even) better seats. <br> <br> Mercedes oil-suspension was found to be slightly more comfortable than the VW air suspension, and at the same time MB had a better handling. On the other hand, VW has the advantage of better traction (due to its 4WD). Engines/transmission were rated about equal as will as performance. <br> <br> In Germany, Mercedes had a slight advantage in the economy (if you can use this word when rating these vehicles). Even thought VW is some 10% cheaper with similar equipment, Mercedes has cheaper service cost, better fuel-economy (who cares?) and a foreseen higher re-sell value.
 

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Imagine yourself at a fancy social...you know, the kind where tuxedo-clad butlers take your coat and uniformed waiters fawn over you with sterling silver trays of hors d'oeuvers and fine wine.<br> <br> Unexpectedly, a beautiful woman starts a conversation with you about automobiles. She actually thinks you're handsome, funny, urbane and quite knowledgeable about fine automobiles. Then, out of left field, she asks you what kind of car YOU own.<br> <br> Imagine yourself telling her, 'I own a Mercedes S-Class,' and the approving smile on her gorgeous face. Her eyes sparkle at you as brilliantly as the diamond-studded choker around her long, elegant neck.<br> <br> Okay? Now imagine yourself telling her, 'I own a Volkswagen,' then stumbling as you try to explain to her that it's a Pheaton and that they're really, REALLY expensive VWs. See the look of disappointment on her beautiful face? See the sparkle in her eyes suddenly fade?<br> <br> No matter how good the Phaeton is, sometimes you just don't want to explain yourself.
 

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But on the other hand, she will get a nice surprise when you walk her to your car, her expecting it to be a Bettle. And you know she did not follow you home becasue of your money. :) <br> <br> I would never go for the Phaeton (even though beeing able to choose between those two cars is as unlikely as if I would be at that party you describe) but as a MB-fan it sort of worries me that Mercedes don´t have a superior fit and build quality anymore.
 

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JQ, bless your heart! You're very sweet and an incredible optimist! If only you could get that lady to walk out to your VW with you, then world peace would truly be upon us!<br> <br> As far as build quality is concerned, Mercedes had many more quality problems in the mid 1980s. My 1986 (100th anniversary) 190E was in the shop on average two times per month...and I still have the paperwork to prove it! But then, it was clearly a lemon and not representative of the entire line. On the otherhand, a guy I work with still has his 1986 190E, hasn't had any problems with it in 16 years and still drives it to work every day! He thinks I'm crazy to have had so many problems. What am I to think...the gods were against me?<br> <br> Since then, the quality has gone up, then down, then up, then...you get the idea. M-B is no different from any other good auto maker: quality will vary. My 1999 ML320 has been rock-solid and NOTHING has gone wrong with it! Yet, I have read posts from owners of 2002 MLs that seem to have many problems.<br> <br> As a pilot, I hear the same concerns about private aircraft. Whether in the air or on the ground, I find that those who have the least complaints are those that rigorously perform routine maintainance and do not abuse their machines. And believe me, an airplane is MUCH more difficult to maintain than a car--yet there are many still flying that are 30, 40, even 50 or more years old. Why? Maintenance.<br> <br> But there is another reason why you may be mislead into thinking that Mercedes build quality is falling: Keep in mind that the posts you read in these discussion boards represent less than 1% of all Mercedes owners. Who are the ones most likely to post messages? The ones with problems! Some are angry and even exaggerate the extent of their problems. You must take them with a grain of salt! Even then, you can ocassionally find those who post messages and yet are satisfied M-B customers...like me!
 

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Discussion Starter #6
I have no facts to prove that todays Mercedeses have more problems than before, but what I have seen with my own eyes is that the interior fit and the quality of the material of todays Meredeses do not live up to the old standards. The ML interior look terrible for such an expensive car! W220 is better but still does not match the price-tag.<br>
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2000 E430T<br>
1989 300SL<br>
2000 RoadKing
 

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JQ, in a way, I agree with you. The fit and finish of many of today's luxury cars (not just Mercedes) doesn't seem appropriate considering the prices being asked. I happen to like the interior of my ML, but it would have been an even better interior if the 4ETS and all the other highly sophisticated (and expensive) systems had been eliminated.<br> <br> So now I'm left with a decision: Do I opt for a nicer interior and omit advanced driving features? Or do I keep the advanced driving features in preference to having a nicer interior? Well, I want my Mercedes to drive well and be a safe car, so I'll keep the advanced driving and safety features.<br> <br> But wait! I'm not the only one saying this! Mercedes has conducted many surveys and focus groups that indicate the majority of buyers are willing to sacrifice attention to interior detail in favor of driving and safety features. That doesn't mean Mercedes is going to sacrifice nice interiors, it just means the money is being funneled somewhere else more important.<br> <br> Although you and I may agree about the interiors, Mercedes is going to build cars to satisfy those people who actually buy their cars (as supported by their extensive research).<br> <br> And here's another bit of news you may not like: Your 'old days' are gone forever. Gone are the days of Mercedes catering to only the top 1% of all car buyers. In order to compete in a global marketplace, Mercedes must build cars that are affordable by many more than just the top 1% (that's why the C-Class and A-Class even exist). Mercedes must branch out into other markets where, by-the-way, the real money is to be made. Every day, Mercedes is becoming just like any other car company, only a little better. And that's exactly where they want to be. It makes good corporate sense and good business sense.<br> <br> Look, I could go on and on about how responsible companies must satisfy their customers, their stockholders and their board members (whether or not you or I agree with what they're doing). But if you think Mercedes' interior quality has dropped, let me give you this simple example:<br> <br> My last car was a Lincoln Navigator, fully-loaded, and cost more than my fully-loaded ML320. After only three years, the Navigator's leather seats practically fell apart and the mostly-plastic interior was terrible. The quality of both the plastics and leather were several grades below what you find in even the cheapest Mercedes. And we're talking about a Lincoln Navigator here, the most luxurious, most expensive, most sought-after American SUV in the world! Wherever I drove my Navigator, people would stop and stare or comment about it!<br> <br> But if the Navigator is so great and more expensive than an ML320, why were the leather seats falling apart? Yes, the interior quality of the ML could be better, but compared to other existing luxury vehicles, I think it ranks as the very best. And, unlike the Navigator, the leather seats of my three year-old ML320 still look like new!<br> <br> If you're still not satisfied, then you're not alone! That's why Mercedes is building the Maybach. Even then, if you really wanted to be critical, you could probably find fault with the Maybach. But remember, the more critical you become, the richer you have to be to afford your own standards.
 

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I just received an email from my friend, Drew. He doesn't want to post on this board because IP addresses are revealed. Drew says:<br> <br> You know how when a Formula One car hits a wall at speed, it literally comes apart? All the pieces scatter everywhere and it seems as if the car had been made very cheaply. In reality, the car was designed to break apart that way in order to diffuse the forces bearing down on the cockpit, where the driver sits. Making a car break apart like this is expensive to do -- NOT CHEAP! The fit and finish in some of the most expensive cars may look cheap, but the interiors are designed to protect the occupants. This oftentimes makes them seem cheaper than the interiors of older cars. But in a crash, I'd rather be in the 'cheap-looking' interior of a new car than in the rigid, less safe, 'better-looking' interior of an older car.
 

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I also believe that the downgrade in interior quality is probably a very conscious decision by Mercedes, and that it is based on intensive marketing studies. Weather they really made the right decision (based on what is best for the company and the shareholders) is difficult to say. The Mercedes car division in Daimler Chrysler make a lot of money today, but long term I think that the Mercedes brand is suffering. No matter if they did the right decision of not, I still prefer 'the good old days'.<br>
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I don't really buy this that the interiors look cheap because they are suppose to be safer. Mercedes is loosing ground not compared to other brands, and not only to their own older generation cars. Even if Mercedes quality is still light-years ahead of American cars, it does not anymore match the quality if European cars like VW, Audi and BMW. <br>
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And the comparison with an F1 car I also can not understand. In an F1 car, most of the force in a head on crash is absorbed by the front couple of inches of the nose-cone (which by the way is made out of carbon fiber, a material not found in the Mercedes road-cars), not by the stuff surrounding the cock-pit that 'literally comes apart'. One thing is for sure, and that is that the F1 interior does not fall appart.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
I must say, I'm somewhat amused by all the worrying you're doing. DaimlerChrysler is a huge, highly-diversified multinational conglomerate. And while Chrysler has dragged M-B down, M-B cars continue to sell quite well with a 22% increase in 2nd quarter profits and delivering over 5% in dividends. If you look at other technical aspects of the company, you'll see that there is nothing to worry about. Really now, don't you have other, more important things to worry about than whether Mercedes is 'suffering' or not?<br> <br> As far as Audi and BMW having better quality than M-B, I must respectfully disagree with you. I've owned five BMWs and six Audis and I can tell you without hesitation: M-B is better. I can't really comment on VW, but then, VW is VW.
 

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Discussion Starter #11
I don't really care about Daimler-Chrysler finances, but what I do worry about is that in the future I will not be able to buy the highest quality cars in the world, with a 3-pointed star in the front.
 

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If all you complainers in your VW's want to drive around and complain about how a piece of plastic doesn't fit, then so be it. If you are looking for a comtemporary car with an exceptional powertrain and dynamic and sporty styling, then the benz is your choice. The S600's chiseled good looks command respect, and you will get it everywhere you go, from hollywood to harlem. I'm not saying that the S600 is perfect, but it is good enough for most mortals. If people see the three-pointed star, then they will think that you have a legit amount of money, and that you want to drive a qualtiy automobile. If they see the VW, they will stare and just think it is an oversized Jetta or Passat, and that the driver should have bought a beetle. This is why brand identity is so important - we associate someones social status by the kind of car they drive, and MB defiantly ranks much higher then VW on that chart.
 

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sorry about that blank message.<br> <br> What is this? A comparrison of VW and a Benz? Despite the power a VW may whip up it will NEVER develop the reputation the Benz has. <br> <br> Reminds me of those Lexis croonies...
 

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Re: MB S600 vs VW Phaeton (JQ)

As per not being able to buy the highest quailty car in the world...<br> <br> Remember your facts may be coming from articles in which the writer may be opinionated. It's what you feel you are getting and rest with that. In my mind, my S600 is unbeatable in luxury and performance. Forget about what others say and write about, this is what I want and this is what I have. As per the interior, hey, show me a car who can match this exclusive leather package along with the technology on a continual basis. Not a one time shot, such as VW has attempted to do. Many come, many go and you know what, the benz is still around. It represents success and wealth. You notice Lexis and those other drivers can't seem to muster the extra bucks it takes to put them over the top in driving. This seperates them in the social class. What I am sayingis that to the sophisticated educated person, there is a difference in the type of person who drives a benz compared to that of a lexis, vw or whatever.<br> <br>
 

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Re: MB S600 vs VW Phaeton "RandyM"

I've found that most people with this young man's complaints are usually wannabe Mercedes-Benz owners. I was sincere when I said that I feel sorry for him. When some people know they'll never be able to have the best, it's very soothing to simply tear down the object of their desire. (That Learjet's no good anyway, it guzzles too much fuel. She's gorgeous, but she's probably too high maintenance. I want a Mercedes, but they're not made as well as they used to be.)<br> <br> 'I want a Mercedes.' Duh...who doesn't? Why do you want a Mercedes? Because it's a bunch of crap? Of course not! You want a Mercedes because despite all of the excuses and complaints, you know (deep inside) it's the best. You wouldn't spend one second of your time online in a Mercedes-Benz (!) discussion group if you thought otherwise.<br> <br> The majority of Formula One drivers own them. Why? Because they stink? Because F1 drivers aren't very finicky about the cars they drive? Of course not! They're among the most demanding, hardest-to-please driver-owners and they know a masterfully balanced driving machine when they see it. Why do doctors, bankers, lawyers, celebrities, presidents of countries around the world own Mercedes? Because they like the cheap interior that isn't as good as a VW? OF COURSE NOT!<br> <br> Look, I've noticed a difference between my first Mercedes (a 1986 190E 2.3) and my latest Mercedes (a 1999 ML320). The 190E seemed heavier, more solidly built with a tight, 'bank vault' quality about it. The ML320 seems lightly built compared to the 190E and perhaps the fit and finish of the materials aren't quite as good.<br> <br> Big Effen deal, man! Nobody but NOBODY is building heavy cars anymore! Fuel costs too much and low mass is where the high tech is, right? Aluminum engines are more advanced and get more horsepower and gas mileage than an iron block engine! Does that make aluminum 'cheap'? But aluminum engines don't look as pretty as iron engines. Who Effen cares! Aluminum is better! Titanium would be even better, but it's stronger and lighter than aluminum therefore...cheaper looking? AHHHHHHHH!!!!!!<br> <br> You know what the two biggest differences between my old 190E and my newer ML320 are? The 190 has the letter AFTER the number instead of before it, and one was built in Sindelfingen Germany, the other in Vance, Alabama. Other than that, I see very little difference in quality...both are top-drawer! They're different, yes, because they belong to two different eras of automotive history. The ML is built for THESE times, the 190 was built for THOSE times. But in their own day and in their own contexts, both are equally supreme compared to their competition.<br> <br> Look, while Henry Ford was starting up the first auto assembly line, Mercedes had been building cars by HAND for many years prior. Except for a handful of basically impractical, ridiculously-priced, super gas-guzzling, specialty cars that cost more to insure than 99.999% of the people can afford, TODAY, everybody builds on assembly lines! Does that mean Mercedes 'sold out,' and gave into cheapness? Of course not! Does it mean they gave into practicality? YES! Does it mean they were (and still are) in touch with reality? YES! Despite what you may think, Henry Ford was a very brilliant man.<br> <br> Tell you what. If you're really, really serious about being disappointed in Mercedes and hating the brand, then don't worry -- they'll never miss you as a customer! And I'm certainly not going to miss you as a fellow Mercedes-Benz owner! So chill out and drive away in your VW.<br> <br> And that's NOT from a wannabe M-B owner...it's from a guy who's actually owned them and driven many, many, many, many, many miles in them. Anyway, that's IMHO, and the last you'll hear from me on this subject! Bye, Bye!
 

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Discussion Starter #19
Chill out, Randy! :)

Oops. I don’t know what I wrote that could upset you that much. Please read my posts one more time and you will see that I certainly don’t “hate� the brand Mercedes! As a Car freak in general, and a Mercedes freak in particular, I find it very interesting to follow what the press says when a new brand enters the luxury market. <br> <br> “I've found that most people with this young man's complaints are usually wannabe Mercedes-Benz owners�<br> <br> As can be seen in my signature, I own two Mercedes-Benz (although no W220, but I have previously owned W116 and a W126 S-class, both very well used, but still in very nice condition, at the time of purchase).<br> <br> “You want a Mercedes because despite all of the excuses and complaints, you know (deep inside) it's the best. You wouldn't spend one second of your time online in a Mercedes-Benz (!) discussion group if you thought otherwise.�<br> <br> You are absolutely right; even though I think earlier S-class where more, as you yourself very nicely describe it “heavier, more solidly built with a tight, 'bank vault' quality�, W220 is a great car, and I would love to have one in my garage! Due to practical (I´ve got two kids) as well as economical reasons I had to settle for a two year old E-class station wagon. <br> <br> “Tell you what. If you're really, really serious about being disappointed in Mercedes and hating the brand, then don't worry -- they'll never miss you as a customer! And I'm certainly not going to miss you as a fellow Mercedes-Benz owner! So chill out and drive away in your VW.�<br> <br> As I said, I don’t hate the Mercedes brand! I guess Mercedes will have to stick with me as a customer for many years to come, and even though we live on separate continents, you will have to stick with me as a fellow Mercedes owner.<br> <br> Warmest MB-regards / Joakim Quensel<br> <br> P.S. I test-drove the new W211 E-class last week. If I had the money to upgrade from my W210 E430T, I would sign up for the waiting list for an E500T. It’s a great car (even though the AC buttons felt a bit cheap)!
 
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